HDKP 40th Anniversary Celebration

The Croatian Society of Conference Interpreters celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding with an event held in Zagreb. The speakers were Janko Paravić, a founding member and the first president of the HDKP; Sanja Matešić, the current president of the HDKP; Linda Fitchett, the president of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC); Juan-Carlos Jiménez Marín, Director for Organisation and Planning, DG Interpretation and Conferences, European Parliament; and Luis Machado, Head of Department A – 4, DG SCIC, European Commission.

Janko Paravić spoke about the beginnings of conference (simultaneous and consecutive) interpreting in Croatia in the sixties and seventies of the past century, when there were no university courses in interpreting, access to information was much more difficult and there were no fast means of communication. In spite of this, the members of the Society achieved an enviable level of quality of interpreting and laid the foundation of the profession in Croatia. Since then, as Sanja Matešić mentioned in her speech, radical changes have occurred in the Croatian state and society, and thus in the HDKP, but the Society has maintained its tradition and continuity, as evidenced by the professionalism and expertise of its members and the professional standards and ethics it promotes. In recent years the Society has considerably extended and intensified its activities, but the joint efforts and cooperation of all conference interpreters are still needed to mitigate the negative developments on the market and educate clients to recognize quality and to respect the standards of the profession. This was confirmed by Linda Fitchett, the president of AIIC, an international association founded in 1953 which gathers together approximately 3000 conference interpreters in 100 countries, with over 50 languages represented. Among its other activities, AIIC, acting as a trade union, concludes collective agreements with large international employers, including the EU institutions.

The gathering was then addressed by Juan-Carlos Jiménez Marín, who described in detail the accreditation process for interpreters wishing to work for the EU. The European Parliament currently employs 9 conference interpreters in the Croatian booth, and there are 48 accredited freelance conference interpreters for Croatian on the joint list of the EU institutions. Mr. Marín was followed by Luis Machado from DG SCIC, which also provides interpretation for the EU Council, Committee of the Regions, and Economic and Social Committee. DG SCIC is the largest provider of conference interpreting in the world (120,000 interpreter days for all languages, and about 2,500 interpreter days for Croatian in 2014). DG SCIC currently has 8 staff interpreters in the Croatian booth and recruits freelance interpreters from the joint list. Mt. Machado concluded by saying that now is a good time to embark on an interpreting career, as DG SCIC currently meets only a little over 80 per cent of the needs for interpretation into Croatian. The event ended with a reception.